Operation | Follow-up care | Frequently asked questions
While some women wish their breasts were bigger, others find that their large, pendulous breasts make life difficult. Heavy, sagging breasts can sometimes be very uncomfortable and cause chronic pain in the back and neck. Sport may become a nightmare for these women and some may avoid situations where their breasts are visible – like swimming or wearing close-fitting clothing. In these cases, a breast reduction can help to address these problems.
Technically, breast reduction surgery can be performed at any age. However, the important proviso is that the woman has stopped growing and the breasts are fully developed.
On the day of the breast reduction you will arrive at the Pyramid Clinic two hours before your scheduled surgery. Our nursing staff and your specialist will prepare you for the operation ahead. This includes taking the “before” photos and marking the new breast contours on your skin. An experienced anaesthetist will explain the details of the general anaesthetic planned.
Smaller, lighter and firmer breasts can be achieved by removing superfluous skin, fat and glandular tissue in the lower breast area. A new breast is formed out of the remaining upper sections by internally remodelling the breast mound and lifting the skin over it. The areola is reduced in size and the nipple raised into its new position. The incision runs around the areola and in a vertical line extending in a downward direction. In some cases another incision is required along the line of your natural breast crease.
The procedure takes about two and a half hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. We recommend staying in the Pyramid Clinic for one or two nights after surgery.
After the operation, your breasts will be bound with a firmly fitting support bandage. The following day the tubes used to drain blood and fluid from the wound will be removed. A week later the support bandage will be removed and replaced by a sports bra. This takes over the role of the support bandage and should be worn day and night for a further three weeks. After four to six weeks, all signs of the operation should have substantially healed.
After the breast reduction, there may be some swelling and loss of sensation in the breasts, which should disappear in most cases after a few weeks. For some time after the operation it is advisable to wear a comfortable bra that is gentle on the skin. To ensure optimal healing, we recommend you take it easy for up to six weeks.
Situation before surgery
Before surgery the intended new breast shape and size are marked on the skin.
The nipple is lifted and the base of the breast surgically narrowed.
Depending on the type of incision, the scar lines run around the areola and in a downward direction.
Will breast reduction leave any visible scarring?
The incision runs around the areola and in a vertical line extending in a downward direction. In some cases another incision is required along the line of your natural breast crease. The amount of visible scarring depends on how quickly your skin heals, which is something that is genetically determined. Normally breast reduction surgery will leave faint, light scars that will be scarcely noticeable after a few months.
Will my nipples «move»?
Due to the removal of tissue and skin from the breasts, the position of the nipples will change. To ensure an aesthetically pleasing result is achieved, the areola will be adjusted to suit the new breast and the nipple lifted into its new position. This is normally achieved without any loss of sensation as a result.
Do I need to tell you about any medication I am taking?
It is extremely important in every case that you advise the specialist treating you of any illnesses and any medication you may be taking. For two weeks before surgery you must not take any medication containing aspirin (e.g. Aspirin, Aspégic etc.). These medications may lead to excessive bleeding during the operation and delay the post-operative healing process. The specialist may decline to go ahead with the breast reduction at any time if an increased risk is posed as a result of medication taken before the operation.
What are the risks associated with breast reduction?
As a general rule, any operation carries with it certain risks (e.g. intolerance of certain medication, bruising, delayed healing, inflammation, scar problems or loss of normal sensation). This all depends on the individual’s general state of health. Your specialist will discuss any potential risks with you as part of the consultation process and preparation for surgery.
Is it possible to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?
This depends on the surgical technique and the anatomical makeup of each individual. If enough milk-producing ducts are retained in the upper area of the breast where the new breast mound is formed, breastfeeding may still be possible after breast reduction surgery.
How long will I be off work?
Depending on your occupation, you should allow for at least seven days off work. If your job involves heavy physical work, you may be unable to return to work for up to four weeks.
When will I be able to play sport again?
After six to eight weeks most of the signs of the operation will have healed, so you can slowly return to playing sport. You may like to begin with some light exercise, such as walking or cycling, about four weeks after the operation. Weight training, golf, tennis and swimming are not advisable until about six weeks after surgery.
How much does breast reduction surgery cost?
The cost for breast reduction depends on the type and scope of the surgical procedure involved and can only be determined as part of a private consultation and medical examination. In total you can expect to pay around 12,000 to 15,000 Swiss francs. A preliminary consultation is 200 Swiss francs.
Will this procedure be covered by health insurance?
Because large, heavy breasts may constitute a health problem, (e.g. back pain, postural damage, restrictions on everyday activity etc.), Swiss health insurance will cover the surgical and treatment costs of breast reduction in individual cases, provided such things as the following criteria are met:
At least 500 g of breast tissue is removed on each side.
The patient is no more than a little overweight (BMI < 25).
Pain and postural problems have already been treated without success using non-surgical therapies (e.g. physiotherapy).
Our doctors have many years of experience. We guarantee rapid, expert investigation and advice. Treatment is provided using the most up-to-date equipment and facilities. You are also welcome to ask us for a second opinion.
Facts and figures
About 2½ hours, under general anaesthetic
Length of stay at the clinic
1 week with bandage and 3 weeks with bra worn day and night
Time off work
About 1 week, depending on type of work
Light exercise after 4 weeks, no sport (tennis, swimming, jogging) for 6 to 8 weeks